Omega-3, a way to care for our bones

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Bones are responsible for the structure and form of human body, and serve to protect vital organs: the skull protects the brain, the spinal column protects the spinal cord, the ribs form a cage that protects the heart, lungs, liver, and spleen, and the pelvis helps protect the bladder, intestines, and in women, the reproductive organs. Besides, bones have other important functions: movement (along with the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints), and blood cells production (red and white blood cells blood cells are produced in the bone marrow of some bones). Therefore, bone health is very important.

Bone density (or bone mineral density) is a term which refers to the amount of mineral matter per square centimetre of bones; it is used in medicine as an indicator of osteoporosis (decreased bone mass) and fracture risk. Osteopenia is decreased bone density but not to the extent of osteoporosis.

Among women, up to 90% of maximum strength and density of bones is acquired by age 18, but bone mass can keep growing until around age 30. Between age 30 and menopause, women experience minimal change in bone mass, but in the first years after menopause, bone loss is rapid. Throughout the postmenopausal years, bone loss slows but continues, and this can lead to osteoporosis. Although not everyone who has low bone density will develop osteoporosis, they are at higher risk.

We cannot avoid aging but we can practice physical activity (walking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, dancing, weight training, and so on), to follow a healthy diet, not to smoke, and drink alcohol in moderation.

Consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D is key to maintaining strong bones, and intake of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) seems to be positively associated with bone density in women with and without osteopenia.


Lavado-García J, Roncero-Martin R, Moran JM, et al. Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid dietary intake is positively associated with bone mineral density in normal and osteopenic Spanish women. PLoS One. 2018;13(1):e0190539.

Bone Mass Measurement: What the Numbers Mean [Internet]. Bethesda: NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center; 2018 [cited 2018 january 15]. Available from:

Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women [Internet]. Bethesda: NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center; 2018 [cited 2018 january 15]. Available from:

PubMed Health. Bone Mineral Density (BMD) [Internet]. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine; 2018 [cited 2018 january 15]. Available from: